In sports such as football and basketball, sprained fingers are a relatively common type of injury to sustain. It is important to note that, while having your fingers sprained may cause you discomfort and interfere with your daily activities, it is not a serious injury. A sprained finger can be identified by the presence or absence of cramping or redness, as well as the presence or absence of swelled tissue. If you’re having trouble determining whether your finger is sprained or broken, schedule an appointment with your doctor.
Part 1 Inspecting Your Finger Visually
1. If your finger was bent sideways, check for swelling on the sides of your finger. When you have a sprained finger, one of the first signs you will notice is swelling. Your finger’s ligaments, which connect the bones of the finger, may be stretched or torn if it was bent uncomfortably far to one side or the other.
The tendons will swell on the side of the finger that was bent in the opposite direction of the finger that was bent. To determine whether your finger was forced too far to the left, check for swelling on the right side of your finger.
2. If your finger has been bent backward, look at the bottom of your finger for damage. If the soft underside of your finger appears puffier than usual, take note of it. If this is the case, it indicates that your finger has been sprained and that the ligaments near the base of your finger have been stretched or torn as a result.
If you’re not sure whether a finger is swollen or not, compare it to the corresponding finger on the other hand to make sure.
3. Check to see if any of the red spots on your finger have appeared. The most noticeable symptom of a sprained finger is red discoloration, which occurs in addition to swelling. Inspect the sides and the bottom of your finger for any irregularities. In most cases, if the finger is more red than the surrounding fingers, it has been injured.
The degree of redness will vary depending on the severity of the sprain you’ve sustained. Because of this, if your finger is only mildly injured, you may notice a slight pink tint to the skin around the injured tendon.
Depending on how severe the sprain is, a large portion of the finger may be noticeably bright red.
Part 2 Noting Painful Symptoms of a Sprain
1. After the injury, make an effort to use the finger as normally as possible. If you are concerned that your finger may have been sprained, try to continue using it as you normally would for the next day or two. Most likely, you have a sprained finger if you notice that the finger doesn’t function normally, that it won’t bend, that it won’t hold any weight, or that it is too painful to use.
For example, if you find yourself unable to pick up a gallon of milk with your hand because you have an injured finger, you are most likely suffering from a sprain of that finger.
2. Keep an eye out for cramping or spasms in the muscles of your fingers. When a finger is sprained, the muscles in the finger are frequently affected. Maintain close observation of the affected finger as you go about your daily activities, noting any painful or uncomfortable cramps. Your finger may bend itself into a twisted position as a result of cramps. Muscle spasms are also a common occurrence when a sprain occurs.
Consequently, if you notice that your finger is twitching or bending on its own, it’s likely that it has been sprained.
3. Take note of how much discomfort you are experiencing in your sprained finger. Any finger injury will be painful, but the intensity of the pain you experience will indicate how severely the finger has been sprained or fractured. If the finger is still bothering you 48 hours after the incident, it is most likely sprained, as pain from a minor injury should subside within 48 hours of the incident occurring.
If the pain is sharp and severe, it is likely that you have sprained or broken your finger severely.
4. Straighten your finger and check to see if the tip of your finger remains bent. It is possible that your sprained finger was impacted head-on, causing it to be compressed and possibly resulting in joint damage in addition to the sprain. A “mallet finger” is the term used to describe this condition. Consequently, if you try to straighten your finger and the tip remains bent at an angle, it will need to be professionally splinted to prevent further damage.
Mallet finger, unless it is accompanied by a sprain, is usually not uncomfortable.
Part 3 Seeing a Doctor to Diagnose Your Finger
1. If your finger is still swollen, bruised, or painful after 48 hours, you should see a physician. A visit to your general practitioner should be scheduled if the pain from your sprained finger is severe or lasts for more than a couple of days after the injury. They will be able to determine whether or not the ligaments in your finger have been sprained after assessing the damage to it.
If you are unable to bend your finger after the incident or if the pain from the injury prevents you from going about your daily routine, seek medical attention at your nearest Urgent Care centre or emergency department.
2. Tell the doctor about the injury to your finger that you sustained. Inform the doctor of the date and location of the injury to the finger. Additionally, describe how you sustained your injury (e.g., if you caught the ball wrong in a game of baseball). Mention the angle at which your finger was injured, as well as the direction from which the injury occurred. Inform the doctor of the severity of the pain and whether it has become more or less painful over time as well.
It is also necessary to schedule an appointment if you suffer from mallet finger, as this condition requires the attention of a medical professional.
3. If your doctor is unable to visually confirm a sprain, he or she may order an imaging scan. X-rays or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans will almost certainly be performed by the doctor. It is possible for your doctor to obtain a clear image of the bones and ligaments in your finger using either of these scans. An MRI, in particular, will provide the doctor with a clear picture of the ligaments that are damaged inside your injured finger. The doctor will be able to determine whether or not your finger has been sprained after reviewing the scan results.
It is not expected that either the X-ray procedure or the MRI procedure will be painful or discomforting.
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